The Outsiders Characters

The main characters in The Outsiders are Ponyboy Curtis, Darry Curtis, Sodapop Curtis, Johnny Cade, Bob Sheldon, and Cherry Valance.

  • Ponyboy Curtis is the narrator and a member of the greasers.
  • Darry Curtis is Ponyboy’s older brother. He takes care of Ponyboy after their parents die in a car crash.
  • Sodapop Curtis is the handsome middle Curtis brother.
  • Johnny Cade is Ponyboy’s friend. He dies of injuries sustained during a fire.
  • Bob Sheldon is a Soc whom Johnny kills when the Socs try to drown Ponyboy.
  • Cherry Valance is Bob’s girlfriend. She spies on the Socs for the greasers.

List of Characters

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Ponyboy Curtis

Ponyboy is the narrator of the story, and he shares his thoughts and feelings directly with the reader. Ponyboy is academically talented and physically resembles his brother Sodapop. At fourteen years old, he’s one of the youngest characters in the novel. While Ponyboy accepts the conflict between the greasers and the Socs for what it is, he also questions whether fighting is something to enjoy and criticizes the unfairness of being low-income. He has to grow up quickly over the course of the novel, but he has a breakdown when he refuses to accept that Johnny and Dally are dead. He is insightful and poetic, and he looks for signs of someone’s true character beyond social status.

Darry Curtis

Darrel, known as “Darry,” is the eldest of the Curtis brothers and mature beyond his years. He shows his love for Ponyboy by being very strict and serious, which Ponyboy initially believes is a sign that Darry doesn’t love him. Darry believes Ponyboy can do more with his life than he or Sodapop will and gets angry when Ponyboy stays out late and lets his grades fall.

Johnny Cade

Johnny is the greaser gang’s “pet” and is the member who keeps the gang together. He is the least assuming member of the gang and has a fearful look to his eye, and after he is beat up by Bob, he carries a knife on him at all times. He idolizes Dally and the Southern gentlemen in Gone with the Wind, and he proves to be a deep thinker with his insight into Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” His dying wish is for Ponyboy to fight less and to focus more on the beauty in the world.

Dallas Winston

Dallas “Dally” Winston is the toughest member of the greaser gang. A transplant from New York City, Dally gets into the most fights and steals the most things. Although he’s extremely violent, Dally cares a great deal about Johnny and doesn’t want Johnny to go to jail. When Johnny dies, Dally is lost with grief and provokes the police into shooting him.

Cherry Valance

Cherry is Bob Sheldon’s girlfriend. She has many things in common with Ponyboy, like enjoying sunsets and reading. She becomes a spy on the Socs after Johnny and Ponyboy leave town.

Sodapop Curtis

The middle Curtis brother, Sodapop is movie-star handsome. He has dropped out of high school and works at a gas station with Steve Randle. Sodapop is able to get “drunk on life,” and he often mediates between his brothers due to his sensitive and compassionate nature.

Two-Bit Mathews

Two-Bit earned his name because he always has to share his “two bits.” He doesn’t take himself or life too seriously.

Steve Randle

Steve is Sodapop’s childhood friend and is good with cars. Steve doesn’t like Ponyboy very much because he thinks Ponyboy is a tag-along.

Bob Sheldon

A handsome Soc who has it all, Bob once beat Johnny up badly. Johnny kills him when Bob begins drowning Ponyboy in the park fountain. Cherry and Randy share that Bob was a kinder person when he was sober.

Randy Adderson

Bob’s best friend, Randy decides that the conflict between the Socs and greasers isn’t worth it. He visits Ponyboy a few times to talk about Bob and Johnny.


Marcia is Cherry’s friend. She hits it off with Two-Bit at the movies by having the same strange sense of humor.


Sandy is Sodapop’s girlfriend and is only mentioned once in the novel. She seems nicer than the average greaser girl, but she breaks up with Sodapop by letter after moving to Florida, which breaks his heart.

Buck Merril

Buck Merril is Dally’s rodeo partner and a cowboy who regularly fixes races to earn money. Ponyboy and Johnny find Dally at Buck’s house after Johnny kills Bob.

Tim Shepard

The leader of another greaser gang, Tim Shepard leads his gang with strict discipline and authority. Described as a lean and tough alley cat, Tim takes pride in his greaser-criminal life. He and his gang show up to the rumble to fight alongside Ponyboy’s gang.

Curly Shepard

Curly is Tim’s younger brother. He is in reformatory during the rumble, and he once played chicken with Ponyboy—they held lit cigarettes to each other’s fingers before Tim stopped them from hurting each other further.

Mr. Syme

Mr. Syme is Ponyboy’s English teacher. He gives Ponyboy the opportunity to make up for his slipping grades by writing a good semester theme on a topic of Ponyboy’s choosing.

Jerry Wood

Jerry Wood rides in the ambulance with Ponyboy to the hospital and stays with Ponyboy until his brothers arrive. He is surprised to find out that Johnny and Dally have criminal records but believes that they won’t get in as much trouble since they acted heroically.

Mrs. O’Briant

At the burning church, Mrs. O’Briant tells Ponyboy that there are children inside. Both she and Jerry Wood think that Ponyboy and his friends are sent from heaven.

Mrs. Cade

Mrs. Cade is the mother of Johnny Cade. She appears in the novel once to see her son while he’s in the hospital. Ponyboy mentions that she either ignores Johnny or verbally abuses him. She is portrayed as a cheap, mean person.

Paul Holden

Paul played football with Darry when they were both in high school. He kicks off the rumble by fighting against Darry.

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Character Analysis